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GARDEN STATE
2004, Fox Searchlight, 102 min, USA, Dir: Zach Braff

Zach Braff earned a “Best First Feature” Independent Spirit Award for this wonderfully nuanced dramedy, in which he stars as a TV actor who returns to his hometown after the death of his mother and learns to look at his life in new ways. Co-starring Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm, and featuring a Grammy-winning soundtrack.


THE PROFESSIONAL
LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL
1994, Sony Repertory, 110 min, France, Dir: Luc Besson

When corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) murders her family, 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman, in her feature debut) takes refuge with neighbor Léon (Jean Reno). She soon discovers that her protector is a hitman - and begs him to teach her the tricks of the trade so that she can exact revenge on Stansfield. The growing relationship between the introverted assassin and his young protégé is at the heart of this stylish, ultra-kinetic crime thriller, which earned seven César nominations.


V FOR VENDETTA
2005, Warner Bros., 132 min, USA, Dir: James McTeigue

Adapted by the Wachowskis from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, this sci-fi thriller stars Hugo Weaving (“Agent Smith” in the MATRIX trilogy) as a masked freedom fighter trying to incite revolution in a Britain governed by totalitarian rule. Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) joins the fight after V rescues her from the secret police, and together they work to topple the brutal Norsefire regime. The film’s distinctive Guy Fawkes mask has been adopted as a symbol by anti-government protesters around the world.


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